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125

when I came in. The envelope says it's to be opened at the
meeting this morning." The small sound of the tearing of
the paper began, and was finished; then Mr, Sills coughed
once, lightly and inwardly, while he glanced at the enclosed
sheet.

" Yes," he said, " that's it." And he began to read in his
flat, toneless voice, stopping once or twice to clear his throat
and to press his spectacles more precisely into place on the
bridge of his thin, putty-coloured nose:

" Members of the Board of Directors, The Association of
Growers of Dark Fired Tobacco "—and he coughed.

" GENTLEMEN,

"The conviction has been forcibly borne in upon me
that my views concerning the policy of the Association are
not in harmony with those of the majority of the members
of the Board of Directors, even though it is my firm belief
that the policy I have supported is the one of reason and
peace and would be endorsed by an overwhelming majority
of the actual members of the Association itself. Therefore,
under these circumstances, I feel that it is my sad duty to
resign from the Board of Directors of the Association of
Growers of Dark Fired Tobacco, although it is with the
deepest regret that I sever my connection with the esteemed
gentlemen with whom it has been my privilege and honour
to serve.

" Very respectfully,

"EDMUND TOLLTVER,"

Mr. Sills finished the reading, folded the sheet with a
precise motion of his fingers, laid it on the table before Mm,
and, as though to abjure responsibility, turned his head to
resume his inspection of the drifting motes in the ray of
sunlight. There was absolute silence in the room for some
fifteen seconds. Then Mr. Christian, half-rising from his chair
leaned forward across the table and thrust out his hand to-
ward Mr. Sills and commanded, " Lemme see that letter."